Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
We know what you're thinking, and we're right there with you. "A new Mortal Kombat? OK, if you say so...." But we're hopeful that Mortal Kombat, after a five-year hiatus, can resurrect itself in the console market with Deadly Alliance. As excited as the old-school game boys in us want to get over a new MK, our hearts have been broken before (or should we say, "be-4"). So we turned a deaf ear to the hype, put on our joe Friday hats, and took down just the facts on Midway's fighting chances with the new Mortal Kombat.
Notice any projectiles in these screens? Neither did we, but relax--the game is still very early. From what we know, though, Deadly Alliance is getting back to basics, so outlandish special moves and heat-seeking missiles may be a thing of the past. According to series co-creator Ed Boon, MK-.DA is returning to the darker gameplay feel of the first two Mortal Kombat titles. No more Animalities or Friendships--the game has a much more serious tone. But fighters will have weapons and random objects in each arena to use on one another (a feature introduced in MK4), and some stages will have multi-tiered combat fields a la MK3. The developers also ditched the run button to keep the game's mechanics more consistent. Full 3D movement and a mix of custom and scripted combos will also make this MK play like no other.
Despite the return to classic gameplay, MK's fighter roster continues to grow--Deadly Alliance has around two dozen combatants between the returning favorites and newbies like Blind Kenshi (shown above) and a female version of SubZero.
Each character uses a unique fighting form (shown in yellow text at the bottom of each screen) and has the ability to switch styles mid-game (see the sidebar for details). Boon promises the switch between styles will be quick and easy, allowing for some cool combo potential.
Since the story is about as important as the plot of a porno film, we'll spare you the drivel and just say that Shang Tsung is back in the game, and the "Deadly Alliance" is a pact between him and Quan Chi to overthrow Rayden (or Raiden, depending on whom you ask) and his mortals. What's more exciting is seeing hard-ass fighters like Kung Lao back in the game. It's enough to give nostalgic MK2 fans a reason to keep their eyes on Deadly Alliance, anyway.
Download Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Mortal Kombat is one of those old titles that you can yell at, kick, stomp, and otherwise trash, but it never seems to go away. Having produced perhaps the only palatable video game film (for fighting games that is) of recent years, and an absolutely horrible sequel, I find myself at a loss for what to say about good old Mortal Kombat. Don't worry, though, that won't stop me!
First, this is an almost entirely different Mortal Kombat game from the titles of yore. MK is completely 3D, with three fighting styles for each character (switched with a button) and a combo system that not only works, but incorporates the style switch button. It's got impressive ideas in a market that's normally saturated with clones of the last big success. Difficulty problems are inherent throughout, as there's no steady progression of AI intelligence, relying on the old, 'I kick your ass, or I don't kick your ass'? algorithm. After having tested it with numerous controllers, I also found that the game is much more difficult to play with a standard Xbox controller, instead working much better with the Type-S controller. Since the game relies on the dpad, and won't use the analog sticks at all, it's important that you have a controller that handles well.
Visually, compared to the previous titles in this franchise, Deadly Alliance is amazingly nice to look at. Without the lower quality parts of some of their CGI cutscenes, I'd say this title was top notch beautiful. There isn't much in the way of good background music, but cest la vie.
For a new take on an old license, Midway seems to have gotten this formula right. There are a crapload (and I use that term seriously) of unlockable items, a fighting mode, a tutorial/unlock-more-crap mode, and a bizarre use of password protected player profiles. Say that four times fast, and try not to choke on the alliteration. Mortal Kombat's got a few control issues, and I'm sad to say that (IMO) the fatalities suck, but beyond that, this is pretty entertaining for a console title, if not the best polished game in the world.